Surf, Tides & Currents, Open Water Touring and
Intro to Rock Gardens – ACA Level 4

This is the culmination of our fundamentals series. All classes focus on aspects of coastal paddling unique to the area, the basics of open-coast touring, identifying coastal hazards, advanced surf landings, trip planning, and more. A variety of locations is available in Northern California, such as Bolinas and Bodega Bays, in addition to those mentioned below.

Surf Zone and Kayak Surfing Clinics

Intro to Surf Zone: Launching and Landing – ACA Level 4A

Sea kayaker learning to surf with the help of an instructor.Since the best paddling in our area requires launching and landing through surf, this class is a must for discovering all that the Sanctuary has to offer and to participating in our open-coast tours. Learn strategies for negotiating surf zones and planning trips, as well as open-water rescue practice.

Midweek custom private classes available.

Prerequisite: Level 3A: Basic Skills or equivalent,  (Level 3B: Skills Tour recommended)
Price: $99/Full day

Surf Zone II: Rolling in Surf and Wave Surfing Intro – ACA Level 4B

Kayaker and instructor in the surf.Our most frequent request after the Surf Zone Class is for more practice in the surf. This Skills Tour is it! We’ll explore the coast with ample time to review launching, landing, and side surfing techniques, as well as open-water rescues.

Prerequisite: Level 3A: Basic Skills and Level 4A: Intro to Surf Zone class or equivalent
Price: $99/full day

Surf III: Short Boat Surfing – ACA Level 4C

Learn to surf or refine your moves in our new fleet of short surf machines. Highly maneuverable yet stable, these river/surf “playboats” are a blast in the waves. Besides being tons of fun, surfing in these kayaks is great cross training for sea kayakers seeking to improve confidence and control in the surf zone.

Prerequisite: Surf Zone Skills (suggested: Kayak roll training).
Price: See custom class rates


Golden Gate Tides and Currents Intro – ACA Level 4

Sea kayakers approaching the Golden Gate BridgeUnderstanding tides and currents is an essential skill for Bay Area paddlers. Besides, the San Francisco Bay is a cool place to kayak. Enjoy spectacular views of the Golden Gate as we explore this scenic and dynamic area. Class covers reading tide logs, riding tides and currents, trip planning, rough water paddling, and open-water rescue techniques.

Prerequisite: Level 3A: Basic Strokes and Recoveries (Level 3B: Skills Tour and Level 4A: Surf Zone class or experience in choppy seas, strongly recommended)
Price: See custom class rates

Intro to Tide Rip Play: Mellow Yellow Bluff

Playing on the big, wintertime ebbs in San Francisco Bay is a much-anticipated, seasonal treat for advancing paddlers in the Bay Area. Safely explore your limits and expand your comfort level in the Bay’s exciting tide rips, with expert instruction on how to read water, surf and play, and perform efficient rough-water recoveries to stay out of trouble.

Prerequisite: Strong braces and comfort paddling in choppy water, including surf zone and tidal current training and experience. (Solid ACA Level 4 or BCU 4-star paddling skills) (Ability to roll appreciated, but not required.)
Price: See custom class rates

Tide Rips II: Surfing and Playing

More information coming soon…

Open Bay Tour/Practical Navigation: San Francisco Bay

More information coming soon…

Open Water Touring

Santa Cruz to Capitola

More information coming soon…

Intro to Rock Garden and Open Coast Paddling

Franklin Point

Sea kayaker resting on top of rocks waiting for the next surge.A “jungle gym for kayakers,” this complex maze of rocks and reefs on the rugged coastline north of Santa Cruz provides an ideal location to fine-tune boat handling and water-reading skills in rock gardens.

Prerequisite: Level 4A: Intro to Surf Zone Skills (Part 4B: Surf Skills recommended)
Price: See custom class rates.

Point Lobos

Looking out a cave to two sea kayakers at Pt. Lobos.This jagged shoreline south of Carmel is one of our favorite day trips and a perfect place to practice coastal paddling skills among a wealth of marine life and scenery.

Prerequisite: Level 4A: Intro to Surf Zone Skills (Part 4B: Surf Skills recommended).
Price: See custom class rates.

Mello Mendo: Intro to Coast and Caves

“The craggy Mendocino coast is among the more scenic shorelines in a state famous for its beautiful shores, but what puts Mendo on the map as one of the planet’s premier paddling destinations is the number and complexity of its sea caves.”

— from Guide to Sea Kayaking Central & Northern California

Three kayakers paddling through a cav.Come see what all the fuss is about. More than just a tour, this class first takes you to a few of Mendo’s better known caves while introducing the skills necessary to safely visit some of this fascinating coastline’s more out-of-the-way nooks and crannies. Later, our small class size and top-notch instructors allow us to explore further into the labyrinthine maze of ocean-carved rock than most other tours go (conditions permitting, of course).

Prerequisite: Level 4A: Intro to Surf Zone Skills; recommended: recent experience in choppy seas.
Class Size: 8 students max./ 2 or 3 instructors.
Price: $250/two days (includes kayak, etc.; does not include camping fees)

Rock Garden Safety and Rescue Intro

More information coming soon…

Custom Locations

Sea Cave

Sea Cave

Contact us directly if you have a favorite location not listed here! Let us provide you with the confidence you need to navigate your local waters.


Lost Coast Surf Launch